MensJournal.com - Laird's Seven Supplements to Take for Optimal Health

Posted: Mar 06 2013


An Interview with -Laird Hamilton
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Photograph by Ture Lillegraven

We could all use a little nutritional help these days, no matter how healthy our diets are. Our food has fewer nutrients now than it once did for a lot of reasons: long-term use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other toxins; monocropping; and depleted and overused soil. So now, in order to get enough nutrients, we need to supplement. It's still important to eat a variety of foods – preferably from small farmers who use fewer chemicals – because when you eat a bunch of different vegetables, fruits, and proteins, you expose your body to a range of nutrients.

To me, supplements are a necessity, not a luxury. I think of them as medicine: Instead of asking a doctor to prescribe me a drug when I'm ill, I'd rather take something that can help me avoid getting sick in the first place. Here are a few that are key to my diet:

A multivitamin protects against many nutrient deficiencies and helps reduce the risk of cancer.
A multivitamin for men is one of the most important supplements, mainly because it offers protection against a wide range of nutrient deficiencies. A recent study also found that taking a multivitamin every day can help reduce the risk of cancer, so it can have powerful effects. But you need to get a high-quality multi, which you find by making sure the brand sources its vitamins and minerals from whole foods like fruits and vegetables. These versions usually cost more, but for a reason: They're often better. I prefer to take a powder multi or capsules with powder instead of a pill that's compressed and hard as a rock – you're going to have a hard time breaking that down. Powdered supplements or capsules are more assimilable and digestible.

Omega 3's to help fight heart disease.
Truition Omega-3s may be the single best supplement you can take on a regular basis. They help reduce levels of blood fats that can lead to heart disease, and they counter omega-6s, which can cause inflammation in high amounts. Most of us eat more omega-6s than we should because they're found in most processed foods. It's key to have enough omega-3s to keep the 6s in check.
Some of the most effective supplements are foods we don't normally eat that have strong medicinal properties. Whenever I can get a nutrient or health benefit from a root, an herb, or a functional food instead of a pill, the effects will be stronger.

Maca root to balance hormone levels and boost testosterone.
Maca root, which comes from the Andes and was used by the Incas for energy and endurance, helps balance hormone levels and may boost testosterone. I love it. You can buy it in powder form online or at natural food stores. It's pretty strong-tasting, so dissolve it in water and drink while holding your nose, or mix it into a smoothie to mask the taste.

Bee pollen to combat stress and allergies.
Bee pollen is powerful stuff. It contains A, C, D, E, K, and B vitamins, including B5, which helps combat stress, and eight essential amino acids. It's been shown to increase red blood cells, which shuttle oxygen to muscles – a reason many Olympic athletes take it. Eating local honey may help you develop a natural resistance to allergens where you live.

Green powder drink to get enough of your daily vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
A green powder drink made from condensed vegetables, fruits, and herbs is useful because almost no one eats enough of these foods. I like Truition Performance Greens from Ultimate Living. Add a scoop to a smoothie or mix it in water with a little protein powder.

Whey protein to improve strength and muscle mass.
Truition Whey protein is great for active guys because it can help improve strength and muscle mass. I have more than 20 recipes for smoothies using whey protein on my website at gabbyandlaird.com.

MSM to speed recovery after a tough workout.
MSM is a chemical found in plants that also occurs naturally in our bodies. You can buy it as a powder or a pill. I take it because I think it speeds recovery after a tough workout and helps relieve joint and muscle pain.
The bottom line is to try different things and find what works for you. And don't just go for the cheapest version. There's no compromise for quality. If you're putting something into your body every day, it should be the best.